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Papal approval for permanent diaconate in Philippines

September 14, 2023

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CWN Editor's Note: Responding to a recent request from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Pope Francis has approved the ordination of permanent deacons there. As recently as 2020, 97% of the world’s permanent deacons served in the United States or Europe.

In 1967, Pope St. Paul VI, heeding a request made three years earlier at the Second Vatican Council, restored the permanent diaconate .

“It is the function of legitimate episcopal conferences to decide, with the consent of the Roman Pontiff, whether and where the diaconate is to be established as a permanent rank in the hierarchy for the good of souls,” St. Paul VI wrote. “In submitting requests for the approval of the Apostolic See, the reasons should be given which make this new discipline advisable in a given area, and those special aspects stated which afford genuine hope for success.”

In a significant 2019 address that the Vatican has not published in English, Pope Francis said, “I advise the bishops: ‘Remove the deacons from the altar.’ that they go to service. They are the caretakers of service, not first-rate altar boys or second-rate priests.” The Pope’s request that permanent deacons be removed from ministry at the altar is difficult to reconcile with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, St. Paul VI, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and other Vatican documents.

The above note supplements, highlights, or corrects details in the original source (link above). About CWN news coverage.


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